Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bones: Please Don't Ask Me To Do This

You may have noticed we've been quiet since the finale of Bones aired. I can't speak for my colleagues, but I, for one, have been utterly speechless until now.

Heartbroken.

Deceived.

Outraged.

Frustrated.

Confused.

These are just a few of the emotions I have felt since watching "The End in the Beginning."

If you listened to the podcast, you'll know that my reaction was probably best described as, well, angry.
More...

Here's the thing. I spent months analyzing these spoilers. So did a lot of people. And I really felt going into the finale that the only way all of those things could add up was with an unplanned pregnancy. Call me pretentious, call me an asshole, but I still think that might be true. Because Hart Hanson can Twitter his little heart out about how he only obfuscated and fancy-danced, but I maintain that he lied. He specifically said, "No dream sequence here." And, folks, that whole damn finale was a dream sequence. Yes, it could have been Brennan's book (more on that later). Yes, it could have been a flashforward (more on that later). Yes, it could have been "the meeting of two minds," as Hart said (more on that later). But please tell me if you can think of any literary device they can use on the show to tell us which of these (if any) it was. I'm pretty sure there isn't one.

For all practical intents and purposes, that was not Booth and Brennan naked in bed together. Again, please tell me specifically how that will have "serious ramifications," how that will be something they can't walk away from? Because that's what I was told, and that ain't what happened.

So, yeah, I should probably be eating crow and admitting I was wrong about my months of baby!spec. But I won't, because given the information I had, I maintain that that's where I should have been. I don't think I was wrong because I suck at speculating. (Okay, seriously--go ahead and call me deluded and stupid and pretentious. It's okay.)

So yes, I have a problem with the fact that I feel lied to. I also have (had?) a problem with how trite this amnesia business is. You know what the last show was that pulled this stunt? Desperate Housewives. Yeah. It's soapy and silly and I just don't like it. Mostly, my issue is this: We all know that Booth's going to regain his memory. I give this storyline two episodes max; Mae gives it upwards of half a season, but at the end of the day, we all know he's going to remember. What I wanted and expected from that finale (baby or no baby) was a real gamechanger. Real sex would have been a real gamechanger, in that all of a sudden, Booth and Brennan know things. The sexual tension may even have been heightened by the fact that Booth knows the sound of her heels hitting the wood floor as she disrobes to get in bed with him and she knows how his voice sounds when he's whispering to her in bed.

Not only do I feel lied to, I feel cheated. Hey, Leigh, remember after "The Bones That Foam," I called you and told you that I had translated that last scene as "Buckle your seatbelts everybody, 'cause in eleven episodes, they're totally gonna do it"? I know I'm not the only one who felt some serious build-up over the last eleven episodes. From tearful confessions of childhood abuse in "Mayhem on a Cross" to frank conversations about the power of love in "Cinderella in the Cardboard" to slamming her up against a wall in "Science in the Physicist," I really thought we were headed toward Booth and Brennan Naked in Bed Together. Literally. Without ambiguity.

But apparently there was more ambiguity in that sex scene (in that entire episode, really) than in the season finale of Lost.

And that's what I have a problem with the most.

Since everyone's initial shock wore off, other (more observant and less angry) people have found some inconsistencies. Most notably, there are two different clocks in Booth and Brennan's bedroom (the first, in standard time; the second, in military time). Some of Hodgins's voiceover (specifically "You see two people and you think they belong together, but nothing happens") isn't typed on Brennan's computer. And according to some people, Brennan's wearing two different engagement rings.

There are other inconsistencies that I did notice and was slightly perturbed by. For instance, why does Sweets maintain his "psychologist" persona in his role as the bartender, but Angela is no longer a "visual" person? Why is Jared still Booth's brother, while Max isn't "Bren"'s dad? Doesn't make sense.

All I have to say is seriously?

Even if all of those things are there on purpose (and Hart Hanson says that everything was done for a reason), what now? Does it matter? I just spent twenty minutes on the phone with Leigh theorizing that, perhaps, "Mr. B" and "Bren" are the introspections of Brennan and Booth, respectively (explaining why Mr. B doesn't wear a ring, but Bren does), while the sex is the fantasy/future/etc. of both of them. But so what? Even if by the end of the summer, the fandom has concluded that it was something like that, or that the voiceovers are Brennan and the visuals are Booth, or that the sex takes place sometime in the future, making it more of a "promise"--who cares? No matter what it was, I don't see how they're going to bring it back up. Are Booth and Brennan going to have a conversation about his dream and what she was writing? "I dreamed you came home at five in the morning and I made love to you." "ZOMG me, too!" I just don't see something like that going down.

Hart wants to call it "a meeting of the minds," but it just doesn't matter what it was, because the canon outcome is going to stay the same: nada.

Which is why it bothers me so much. One of the reasons why I love Bones so much is that it's usually so easy. I love that Bones isn't Lost. I don't want to overanalyze Booth's nightstand, y'all. I just want it to be light and fun and campy on occasion. Especially because on Lost, it's like...well, take the four-toed statue. It's taken three years to piece together all of the little details and identify it as Tawaret, the Egyptian goddess of fertility. But Darlton gave us the clues. It all added up there, in the end. We have these details for Bones (the clock, the ring, the damned character inconsistencies), but I have no expectation that it's going to add up in the end. How could Hart give us the "aha!" moment of "Okay, I get it. That was Booth hallucinating Brennan and Brennan writing Booth as Andy Lister" or whatever without a convention like, say, I don't know, time travel?

I'm sure he knows exactly what it was/is in his own mind, but without the literary devices to relay that to the audience, it's useless. It's inconsistency for inconsistency's sake.

However, even with alllll of that, I'm still warming to this idea. (I know, right? This is me warmed up.) Because now I can see that Bones is no stranger to cliches. This is the show that did buried alive and Christmas quarantine and joining the circus, for crying out loud. And I happen to really enjoy two of those three episodes. If anyone can do the amnesia story, it's these guys, right? And it lays the groundwork for some pretty good Booth/Brennan moments. I think I'm going to get through this summer powered only by thoughts of his first post-breakthrough "Bones."

And then there's this, Fox's official teaser synopsis for season five.

As Season Five of BONES begins, Booth and Brennan contend with the emotional fallout resulting from the sea-change in their relationship brought about by events at the end of Season Four. This includes Brennan’s request to have Booth father her child and the strange, profound, almost psychic link they shared during Booth’s coma, which left both of them wondering what thoughts and emotions the other is experiencing. While Booth endeavors to come to grips with these unleashed emotions, Brennan insists that, with the aid of her “squints” in the lab, the two of them focus their attention and energy on their main job – catching murderers that no one else can catch.

"Strange, profound, almost psychic"? Really? Maybe we are going to elaborate on their cerebral connection. (I'm sorry, but didn't this happen on Fringe?) It also sounds plausible that Cyndi Lauper, who's going to be recurring as a psychic, will play a role similar to Sweets--she helps with cases and then analyzes Booth and Brennan when she's off duty. But I'm skeptical of the idea that either Booth or Brennan would admit that they felt they had an "almost psychic" connection during his coma.

The one word I do like? Sea-change. Like I said, I wanted a gamechanger. So if they can convince me that what happened was a gamechanger (beyond the few episodes it's gonna take to avail Booth of his memories), I'm all for it. If you're going to go with this psychic thing, I'm in.

But be warned, Bones. You're officially on notice.

7 Responses to “Bones: Please Don't Ask Me To Do This”

moonlightbones said...

Oh my freaking god, I think I just fell in love with you! I have tried to pin point all the reasons why I was so disappointed and angry after this episode aired and you have finally put a voice to those reasons.

I've always been able to find great things in every episode of the show over the four years I've watched, but this one just left me cold. Like you, I was angry (still am to an extent) and I still feel as if I was screwed by Hart and his tweetering self. He lied. Period. There are so many other ways he could have obfuscated that would not have been an outright lie, but he chose to purposefully mislead us. For that, I'm not sure he'll ever regain my trust (not that I think he's losing any sleep over the fact. LOL).

After the finale each year I've always immediately looked forward to the next season....wondering what would happen, anxious and excited to see what would happen. But right now, I could care less. I don't want to watch Booth with amnesia. I don't want to watch a show where I have to take notes and re-watch it a hundred times to catch all the little extra 'clues' that the writers put in as a 'love letter' to the fans. Bones has never needed to do that before and if it ain't broke, it don't need fixing. Give me back the show I fell in love with 4 years ago. I want the characters to grow and mature and change, and they have, but there is no need to change the core of what the show is.

As for the comments made about the next season...I'm even more confused than ever. I agree that I want that sea change they're talking about but if they have to sacrifice the characters to do it, then I'd just as soon pass.

Danielle said...

I enjoyed the finale, but I'm still mad about the sex lie. However you look at it, it's a huge fudge (hey HH, acting a lie is as bad as telling a lie). I saw the second half of the season as building towards either sex or a declaration of love (and I guess you could see the 'meeting of minds' thing as that but, yes, still a cop out).

It depends on how they play it as to how much of a gamechanger this ends up being. It's a huge deal for Brennan to have realised that she loves him (and what ever other stuff comes out of the AU), but for Booth not so much has changed. I don't want to read too much into the synopsis, but I'm also glad that the baby issue is there and isn't just going to be forgotten about.

I think the amnesia idea is trite and creates the possibility of awful soapiness. However, now they've introduced it I'll be pissed if Booth gets over it in five minutes. I'd like to see it resolved in probably 3-4 episodes - long enough to commit to the story, but short enough to avoid a melodrama arc - and also long enough to have a Sweets-centric episode while Booth has time off work. (I know many people hate him but for me Sweets is the most interesting character after B&B).

I actually think the Cyndi Lauper role could be interesting, if B&B come across her in the course of a case, and Booth thinks she can help explain these issues he has but Brennan is of course having none of that. It's a nice play on the faith v. evidence bickering and could raise some good B&B stuff. If Cyndi Lauper is actually going to help with cases then AAARGH! (Also it reminds me too much of Father Joe in the last X-Files movie, and that plot was lame.)

mysticxf said...

I know this is gonna come across mean, but... just because you weren't right doesn't mean this was a horrible way to end. There was no way that finale could end with actual sex and despite my 'Hoorah' for it, it was obvious several episodes before that it wasn't going that way. You don't go from, "Hallucinations" to "brain tumor" to "sex & babies" and while YES, there were numerous teases about it all last season, has being a Lost fan taught you nothing?

The way I saw it, 'melding of the minds' was exactly what it was, and the game-changer is twofold: that now Brennan is acutely aware of what Booth means to her and also that for that moment before he woke up, they were figuratively in the 'same place'. If that's not ENOUGH for you, if you just want sex, there are plenty of other shows out there that will give it to you.

Bones, IMO, got a little too goofy and our expectations dropped -- we became a lazy audience. I would argue it's currently TOO involved with the B&B relationship and not so much with the cases. How many cases have been solved this season almost as an aside? "Oh yeah, they're the killer... so Brennan, let's make with the googly eyes?" They need to re-focus the show and I'm sure this is going to be the frustrating way to do it, having Booth lose certain memories, having him change just a little bit and have to re-learn the Jeffersonian crew in a different way and seeing how they adjust to that.

This could possibly be the best thing for the show, a re-boot if you will (or, an H-Bomb in a pocket of electromagnetic energy) back to the stories of season one where the relationships developed WITH the plot, instead of the plots being sidelined for the relationships. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm also offering some advice here. Don't be so eager to know what's coming, you get so wound up in the 'what if' that the 'what is' will NEVER measure up.

Caroline Carter said...

@moonlightbones THANK YOU! Before Hart started sputtering on about how "real" it was, I would never have considered it was going to be legit sexing. Never. And I would have been thrilled by the finale. But all that obfuscating resulted in some higher-than-necessary expectations. And Hart did that.

@Danielle I'm also very interested in Cyndi Lauper now. Definitely consider my interest noted.

And oh, Mystic. First of all, I specifically said you could call me pretentious and deluded for saying what I said--I knew when I wrote it that people might think I was full of shit. And that's fine. But, God, if it was so obvious to you so long ago that it wasn't going to happen, then why didn't you tell me? 'Cause I swear, up until I realized there was only three minutes left in the finale, that's exactly where I thought it was going.

Also, one of the main points of this blog is that I don't want to use my Lost powers on Bones. I don't want to overanalyze the items on Booth's nightstand. I don't want to talk about mind melds on this show. And as for it not being enough, it's not that I wanted just the sex. If I wanted just the sex, then I would have been thrilled by that episode, right? In some ways, I want the exact same thing you do--the electricity of those early days. And I thought we were going to get that back by them getting closer (a LOT closer, maybe even CROSSING) that line.

As for how speculating sometimes kicks me in the face--it happens. Do you have any idea how many times I've considered going spoiler-free? I just can't do it. The best thing I can get from any of my shows or ships is when my speculation turns out to be totally, 100% completely wrong--and the outcome is ten million times better. (Think Jim and Pam in "Weight Loss" or Kate Austen in season four flashforwards.) Seriously, I would have been (and potentially will be) completely fine with not being right if the outcome turns out to be awesome. I'm just not feeling that now.

mysticxf said...

I wouldn't say "pretentious" or "deluded" because the people on the show certainly put up a good "We're having sex!" front for almost the entire season. I completely understanding being angry with that blatant lie, I'm just not as upset. Fandom is teaching me to take things less seriously.

As for not telling you. Would you have believed me? LOL. "But HART said..." or "Show me proof..." and I'd have about as much to show for my gut feeling as I would have if I'd told you, "The only couple realistically getting knocked up this season is Jim/Pam." (And yes, I wanted to tell you that... but you thought it had SUCH a low probability that I was hoping it'd be that much greater of a surprise.)

The analysis of this episode, like the analysis of a Lost episode, can be as deep or superficial as you choose. With Bones there's always been that 'psychological study' undertone to it (ESPECIALLY this season), so I go there, even when it seems silly to. I'm not going to rewatch the finale looking for every single clue, but I don't do that for Lost either.

And I guess we'll just agree to disagree. I think you really want to be right (who doesn't!) and on THIS, the main reason it's not sitting well with you is that you weren't. If you hadn't had SO many preconceptions based on spoilers and interviews, I think... nay, I know, you might still be perplexed, but you wouldn't feel so down about it all.

I'd be curious to hear your opinions about the episode after a couple weeks time, really studying it... not your speculation on where it would go next year, but on what everything within the episode itself means.

Breda said...

And this is why I try to avoid spoilers. I LOVED this finale. Taken on its own, without any of the preconceptions and predictions you get from reading all the spoilers that this show provides, it was a fun and fascinating episode. I loved looking at who these people could've been if things had gone just a little differently. I loved the whole alternate universe bit, especially with the bits that stayed the same (like VNM's line to Zach "You're the guy who goes to jail for a murder he didn't commit," and Sweets's whole Gormagon thing). There were certain changes that didn't make any sense to me, but, as with Max's new role, I found that a lot of the meanings stayed the same: Max was easily identifiable as himself without being Bren's father.

I also still feel like it was important, not because of the amnesia, but because of the introspection it reflects in our two main characters. If, as is implied, that was both Booth's hallucination and Brennan's book, we've got a lot of fun information on what they think about each other and the possibilities that they seem to wish were possible. I feel like the ramifications of this episode will reverberate throughout next season, even if there isn't a tangible difference.

Ok, I'm a little biased because I was hoping for a totally different outcome from what you were, but I was glad to go into this without such prejudices. It meant I LOVED this episode, just as a good episode of Bones always feels.

Elena said...

I am so very conflicted about the finale and my thoughts about it. I, like Caroline, was seriously excited about an honest-to-goodness B&B hook-up. I felt it coming all season and so, considering all the "it's for real" stuff coming at us from Hart Hanson & Co., I was really hyped up about the finale. As soon as the sex scene popped up in the very beginning I had a sneaking suspicion something was amiss...I mean, wouldn't they kinda spend the episode building to that scene and not just laying it all out right away? Then when Cam knocked on the door with Jared I thought, "Oh CRAP...it's not real! He lied!" Though I watched the rest of the episode I was instantly disappointed and kinda wanted to turn it off. This was not the Bones finale I had expected or hoped for.

When it was over and we seemed to be left with a lame and trite amnesia story I was really pissed off...I mean, I know it's just a tv show, but I was so let down. Though I was aggravated, to say the least, I decided to watch the episode again. Now, I am not saying I am thrilled with the finale, but I do see how it is setting us up for a very interesting season come fall.

It seems that Bones has definitely realized her deep feelings of love for Booth, though she is clearly not ready to act on those feelings. Booth's "dream" clearly shows how strongly he feels for her and his desire to make a life with her. I don't think he has amnesia. My guess is that he recognizes Bones but is confused about what role she plays in his life: his wife or his partner? What reality is he waking up to? Now that he feels he has lived this alternate reality with Bones as his wife, what role does he want her to play in his actual reality? It has been apparent for some time that Booth is aware of his attraction to and affection for Bones, though he has always managed to keep it at bay. Perhaps the main reason he has been able to control his feelings is because he is unsure of whether or not Bones recognizes that she feels the same way...better to leave well enough alone than risk their partnership/friendship, right? Now that both B&B have had a bit of an epiphany and have shared this somewhat psychic link how will their relationship change? It has to change, not only because the season 5 press release says it will, but because the electricity between them has brewed into, as Hodgins'/Brennan's voice over said in the first scene, a gathering storm of sorts. Too much has creeped to the surface to just push it away, try as Brennan might.

I had noticed the thing with the clocks as well as Bones wearing only an engagement ring during the sex scene while, for the rest of the episode, she and Booth were already married. I also noticed that there seems to be a significance surrounding the flashes of light seen at the end of the episode prior to the finale just as Booth is being wheeled into surgery, then again just after the sex scene and before Cam knocks, and finally after the pregnancy is revealed and leading into Bones typing at Booth's bedside. I do think those flashes of light signify jumps into and out of reality...so, the sex...I think it is real but hasn't yet happened...it is the end goal for them...the end in the beginning, right?

Anyway, I don't want Bones to go Lost on us. Keep things within the realm of reality, please. Please, Hart, don't drag this thing out for the bulk of next season. Nip it in the bud and move on. I LOVE this show, but I don't want to spend next season watching Booth trying to get his memory back. That would be LAAAAAAME-O. =)